Victory: Communities United for Police Reform and How Many Stops Act Coalition Celebrate Passage of Crucial Police Transparency Legislation, Call on Mayor to Sign
New York, NY -- Grassroots, civil rights and legal organizations of the How Many Stops Act Coalition, bill lead sponsors Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Council Member Alexa Avilés, Council Member Crystal Hudson, other elected officials, and community members celebrated the City Council's passage of Intros 586 and 538, the two bills of the How Many Stops Act. In a decisive victory over the NYPD’s misinformation campaign to oppose it, Intro. 586 passed with a veto-proof majority, as did Intro. 538. The legislation now goes to the mayor to sign into law. HMSA, which is endorsed by over 100 local and national organizations, 26 family members of those killed by the NYPD, and the Black Latino Asian and Progressive Caucuses, will bring critical transparency and oversight to the NYPD. With stop-and-frisk at an all-time high since 2015 and millions of NYPD stops going unreported, HMSA will empower New Yorkers to understand how, where, when, why and key demographic information about who the NYPD is stopping on a daily basis.
“With stop-and-frisk at its highest point since 2015 and Black and Latinx New Yorkers accounting for an excessively disproportionate number of police stops, we can no longer allow the NYPD to be the sole arbiter of which stops they report on and which stops they do not,” said Communities United Spokesperson, Chauvet Bishop, an organizer with the Justice Committee. “The reality is, especially for New Yorkers of color, all police stops are disruptive, scary, and could easily escalate to abuse and brutality. Racial profiling and police harassment are no less likely in what the NYPD would deem to be lower-level encounters. The How Many Stops Act is an easy-to-implement essential step towards meaningful police transparency and accountability. Today’s passage of the How Many Stops Act is a victory for our communities and our movement. If the mayor cares at all about safety and well-being in Black, Latinx and other New Yorkers of color, he will sign both bills into law immediately.”
Up until now, the NYPD was only required to report on level 3 stops, commonly known as stop-and-frisk. Almost 90% of those stopped are Black and Latino/a/x New Yorkers. According to a recent report by the federal monitor for the NYPD, Mayor Adam’s revamp of the Anti-Crime unit, also called Neighborhood Safety Teams (NSTs), are a significant part of what’s driving the rise. NST stops in the Bronx have some of the greatest racial disparities, with 97% of those stops being Black or Latinx. In the Bronx’s 41st Precinct, 59% of stops, 68% of frisks, and 74% of searches made by officers were unlawful.
These statistics are only for the stops the NYPD is required to report. With the passage of HMSA, there will now be transparency about formerly unreported categories of stops - referred to as level 1 and 2 by the NYPD - which constitute the vast majority of the NYPD’s investigative encounters with civilians.
“Effectively producing public safety based on results, not hysteria, means getting critical information about whether and how policing reforms are being implemented on the ground in our communities. New Yorkers have a right to know this information, and elected officials have an obligation to create policies based on it to ensure community safety and prevent injustices,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams on the bill. “Through simple reporting on NYPD stops, we can prevent the kinds of bias-based policing we’ve seen in the past, build trust in often over-policed areas, and continue the work that began a decade ago amid the height of stop, question, and frisk. We should all be working together for better policing and safer streets, and we can only do that if we have transparency about how police and civilians interact in our streets.”
“The How Many Stops Act is a common sense, good government package that will bring much-needed transparency to the NYPD,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson, Sponsor of Intro. 538. “I’m proud to have joined Public Advocate Williams, Council Member Avilés, and the scores of advocates, namely Justice Committee and Communities United for Police Reform, in the fight for the passage of this vital legislative package. We must assure our communities that the NYPD will be held accountable and that our City is committed to ending the culture of impunity and abuse that pervades the department. Once law, these bills will give New Yorkers a more complete picture of the police department's activities in our communities, mandating the full and accurate reporting of police interactions with the public, and ensuring the NYPD is adhering to the City’s Right to Know Act, creating safer communities for us all.”
"I have deep admiration for the families who have lost loved ones to police violence, having fought for decades for accountability and reliving traumas in pursuit of justice,” said Council Member Alexa Avilés, Sponsor of Intro. 586. “The How Many Stops Act, Intros 586 and 538, won’t bring back neighbors we’ve lost to police violence, but once enacted, it will shed light on demographics and basic data on investigative stops of New Yorkers. It's a common sense proposal and just a small part of the accountability New Yorkers deserve from the NYPD."
“Under this Mayor, the NYPD has been allowed to act with impunity without the basic necessities of reporting. The shadow of secrecy that this police department has been allowed to operate under has enabled them to bring back some of the NYPD’s most egregious practices,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “The How Many Stops Act is how this Council forces this Mayor to adhere to the essential principles of police transparency. This is a victory for the people of this City and a clear message to the NYPD that breaking the law is not an option.”
HMSA now goes to the mayor to sign, who in a 2021 meeting with families of those who were killed by the NYPD vocalized support for reporting on level 1 and 2 encounters and consent searches.
“In November of 2021, Eric Adams looked me and other family members of those killed by the NYPD in the eyes and told us that he would support legislation to require reporting on level 1 and 2 encounters and consent searches as mayor,” said Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed by the NYPD in 1994). “The NYPD may split hairs over the differences between the level of the stops, but the reality for the New Yorkers being approached and questioned by armed officers is, the experience is terrifying and dangerous. These so-called low-level stops by the NYPD can easily escalate to brutality or even death as happened with Eric Garner, Antonio Williams and the loved ones of too many other families. The mayor must sign the How Many Stops Act into law, or it would just be another enraging and disappointing broken promise from a mayor who cares more about protecting abusive officers than delivering transparency and accountability to Black and Latinx New Yorkers.”
“The How Many Stops Act is an easy-to-implement reform that will give us the transparency we need to advance police accountability and community safety and the Mayor should welcome this,” said Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell (killed by the NYPD in 2006). “I’m saddened that Mayor Adams might stand in the way of positive police reform and break his promise to families who’ve lost loved ones to the police and advocates to support police transparency.”
"The Arab American Association of New York advocates for justice, transparency, and the protection of civil rights. We support the How Many Stops Act – Intro. 586 and Intro. 538, because these common-sense bills are crucial steps towards ensuring legal justification, addressing chronic underreporting, and empowering New Yorkers. As an organization committed to fostering a fair and just society, we believe these reforms are essential to ending discriminatory and abusive NYPD practices, promoting community safety, and upholding the principles of equality for all New Yorkers,” said Maryam Khaldi, Coalition Organizer for Arab American Association of New York (AAANY).
“We all have a fundamental right to live and be safe in our communities, free from harassment, but the New York City Police Department’s actions continue to threaten and harm Black and brown people," said Christine Rivera, Adolescent Staff Attorney & Policy Counsel in the Criminal Defense Practice for The Bronx Defenders. “Our review of stops by "Neighborhood Safety Teams" from April through October of 2022 found that over 97% of people encountered were Black or Hispanic, and ultimately 73% of frisks and 63% of searches were lawful. The NYPD’s racial discrimination against marginalized communities does not keep anyone safe. It violates the law and our values. We urge New Yorkers to support the How Many Stops Act, and help keep our communities safe.”
"The New York City Council passing the How Many Stops Act is a meaningful step toward police accountability and true community safety. New Yorkers most impacted by the NYPD's unlawful stop practices deserve the data transparency required by HMSA," said Samah Sisay, Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
“The How Many Stops Act is a critical bill package that will close a major loophole in NYPD oversight. Under current law, NYPD officers interrogate and search New Yorkers who are simply going about their business without reporting these encounters,” said Lindsey Smith, Staff Attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society. “This legislation will advance transparency around racially disproportionate police encounters, deter unjustified searches and questioning, and hold the NYPD to a higher standard for the benefit of all New Yorkers. We urge Mayor Adams to sign this common sense bill package into law immediately.”
"The How Many Stops Act represents a significant stride towards a fairer and more just society where all New Yorkers receive the respect they deserve. LatinoJustice, PRLDEF firmly believes that enacting this legislation will benefit not only the Latinx community but will also serve as a beacon of hope for all disenfranchised communities working towards a safer, improved, and genuinely equitable New York City. We urge the swift passage of the How Many Stops Act,” said Robert Willis, Justice Advocate Coordinator of Latino Justice PLDEF.
“The successful passage of the How Many Stops Act reflects the will of New Yorkers, who have long called for transparency about how the NYPD is operating in their neighborhoods, ” said David Moss, a Public Safety Legal Fellow with Legal Defense Fund. “The How Many Stops Act will shed much needed light on the NYPD’s conduct across the entire city. We urge Mayor Adams to listen to New Yorkers and sign this bill into law. To do otherwise would be to insulate the NYPD once again from transparency and accountability at the expense of the Black and Brown communities that, for too long, have been devastated by police violence and abuse.”
“By passing the How Many Stops Act, the City Council is advancing police transparency, helping to expose abusive and discriminatory conduct, and moving us closer to police accountability,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As a state senator, Eric Adams spoke boldly against the abuse of stop-and-frisk, but as mayor he oversees an NYPD that continues to stop disproportionate and increasing numbers of Black and Brown New Yorkers, too often subjecting them to intimidating and humiliating encounters. Mayor Adams should sign these common-sense bills into law immediately to advance community safety and accountability.”
"The How Many Stops Act is a critical and common sense bill to have more transparency around policing, monitoring bias, and reducing unnecessary stops that can be incredibly harmful. LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness are disproportionately affected by level 1 stops due to homophobia, transphobia and racism while just trying to survive,” said Nadia Swanson, Director of Technical Assistance and Advocacy at The Ali Forney Center.
"Last year I was subject to a pre-text stop in the 107th precinct, an action that was part of the NYPD's discriminatory practice of targeting Black and Brown New Yorkers. Asserting my rights led to the precinct unlawfully reporting me as an Emotionally Disturbed Person to deliberately delay the arrest process and elevate the encounter from a desk appearance ticket. With Mayor Adams emboldening and encouraging these abuses, the How Many Stops Act is an essential tool for transparency and accountability,” said Victor Herrera, member of the Freedom Agenda.
“When problems don’t get reported, they don’t get fixed,” said Jasmine Gripper and Ana María Archila, Co-Directors of the New York State Working Families Party. “The How Many Stops Act is a critical step toward ensuring greater accountability for the NYPD by improving data collection on policing in New York. More transparency for the NYPD means more safety for our communities. We’ve been proud to fight alongside Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Councilmember Alexa Aviles, Councilmember Crystal Hudson and the entire How Many Stops Act Coalition, and will keep up this fight until Mayor Adams signs this bill into law.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.Topics: How Many Stops Act